warns of new challenges
By Jamila Najmuddin
With Sri Lanka currently being rated as
a low middle income country, the Central Bank on Friday said the
country will have to face several new challenges in order to be
categorised as an upper middle income country.
The Central Bank released its Annual
Report for 2004 and announced the annual average inflation rate,
which rose to 7.6% in 2004 compared to 6.3% in 2003, had to be
controlled in order to reach this level.
The bank said the Sri Lanka Consumers'
Price Index also registered a 7.9% increase in 2004.
The report said inflation, which was
low throughout 2003, began to rise in 2004 with the drought and high
fuel prices leading to high cost-push inflation which increased
money supply and fiscal expansion led to demand-pull inflation.
The Central Bank also said monetary
management became more challenging in 2004 with the rise in
inflation and increasing domestic credit demand.
On the external front, the report said
both trade and current accounts in the BOP recorded deficits. A high
import growth of 20%, largely due to high international fuel prices
surpassed the 12% growth in exports and the 11% increase in worker
The surpluses in the capital and
financial accounts were not adequate to cover the current account
deficit due to lower than expected programme loans from the World
Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Hence, the overall
BOP registered a deficit of US$ 205 million and the effective
exchange rate, based on the 24 currency basket, depreciated by 11%
and 1.1%, in nominal and real terms respectively.
The Central Bank said international oil
prices increased sharply in 2004, raising Sri Lanka's average import
price of crude oil to US$ 37 per barrel from US$ 29 per barrel in
2003, resulting in an increase in the oil bill by US$ 372 million.
This, the bank stated, contributed to
the worsening of the BOP and the fiscal situation with a substantial
increase in subsidy payments to oil distributors and the
continuation of inefficient use of fuel since domestic prices have
not been fully adjusted to reflect increases in international
The increased subsidy, the report
stated, could have been utilised for raising the level of investment
substantially, for instance, meeting the entire cost of a large
investment project such as the southern expressway.
The bank also said the conduct of
fiscal policy in 2004 was a challenge in the face of internal and
external shocks that were threatening to slow down the economy. The
government's overall fiscal deficit increased to 8.2% of GDP
compared with 8.0% in 2003.
The concomitant public sector deficit,
which is the total of government deficit and the operational losses
of public sector corporations, was 8.4% of GDP in 2004, compared
with 7.8% in 2003, mainly due to operational losses of the Ceylon
Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
The Bank said in this context the
government revised fuel prices upwards in 2004.
However, the bank added, the revisions
were not adequate and the spill-over effects of increases in
international prices continue to be a heavy burden on the public
According to the report, the increased
public sector deficit in 2004 was financed largely through
borrowings from domestic sources due to the shortfall in foreign
On the structural front, the Central
Bank said reforms are needed to improve institutions, markets and
infrastructure. It added the operational efficiency in the public
enterprises needs to be improved, especially with respect to
developing appropriate pricing mechanisms, enhancing competition and
strengthening the organisational set-up.
The bank said a renewed emphasis has to
be placed on overcoming the energy crisis in the country by
restructuring the energy sector and shifting to alternative low cost
sources and that Sri Lanka's external competitiveness depends
crucially on the availability of low cost energy, comparable with
its competitor countries.
Other reforms include increasing the
efficiency in factor markets, enhancing access to finance by rural
and SME sectors, providing essential public goods, placing adequate
public investment, enhancing civil service efficiency, improving
physical and institutional infrastructure facilities, developing
incentive schemes for economic agents to become successful with
their own resources without government handouts, developing human
capital and promoting new technology as well as research and
The Central Bank said several downside
risks remain in achieving the immediate as well as the medium
The bank said the risk of a further
escalation of international oil prices still remains and therefore
any further increase in oil prices could exert a heavy burden on the
economy and the people.
The bank said further the global
economy has already shown signs of a slowing down in 2005. This may
threaten Sri Lanka's export performance.
Sri Lanka's major export industry,
garments, is faced with increased competition in the world market
due to the phasing out of the Multi Fibre Agreement in 2005, the
According to the bank, any delay in the
disbursement of pledged foreign assistance may delay the urgent
rehabilitation and reconstruction work, affecting the overall
economic performance and the realisation of the expected fiscal
consolidation in the medium term.
Thus, the bank asserted the country
needs to be prepared to face any of these adversities.
launches Rs. 1.5bn project
Ceylinco Developers Limited launched
their latest project, an ambitious Rs. 1.5 billion exclusive, luxury
housing complex in Ja Ela on Friday (29). With over 2,000 customers
having already purchased Millennium City homes, this latest addition
to Millennium City will comprise a total of 100 luxury villas
situated on 30 acres of prime land in close proximity to the
proposed Colombo Katunayake super highway and the airport.
Speaking at the launch of Millennium
Villas , Deputy Chairman, CDL, Bandula Ranaweera said they were
overwhelmed by the confidence the public had in the company.
"The fact that we have currently over 2,000 customers has given
us the confidence to launch such a luxury housing project, a
primarily up market one where customers could make their choice from
as many as eight different designs and sizes."
Ranaweera said a total of 10 customers
had already made reservations for the 40 houses that comprise the
first phase of this project and said a special offer of a diamond
necklace worth over Rs. 250,000 was being offered to the first 20
prices to come down if IPPL enters local market
Gas prices are likely to come down if
the greenlight is given to Indian Oil Company (IOC) and Petronas,
Malaysia, which have sought government permission to export LPG to
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Power and Energy Minister, Susil
Premajayanth told The Sunday Leader due to intense competition
within the gas companies in the country, there was a possibility of
a reduction in the existing gas prices.
However, Premajayanth said the
government is unaware of IOC's proposal, as the gas sector is
currently handled by the private sector. "Even if they have
been given the greenlight from the Indian government, we will not
interfere as we do not handle the gas sector," he said.
Indianoil Petronas Pvt. Ltd. (IPPL) is
a 50 - 50 joint venture between IOC and Petronas. IPPL wants to
export LPG to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from Haldia, a senior
official of the company said.
"We have been receiving enquiries
from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for purchase of LPG. We therefore
propose to blend propane and butane imported separately and produce
LPG as per their specifications and export the same by ship on a FoB
basis ex-Haldia to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka," CEO, IPPL, Mrinal
Roy wrote to the Indian Petroleum Ministry on April 5.
IPPL wants to export 12,000 tonnes of
LPG in 2005-2006, 30,000 tonnes in 2006-2007, 36,000 tonnes in
2007-2008, 42,000 tonnes in 2008-2009 and 50,000 tonnes of LPG in
company would earn US$ 20 per tonne of exports.
However, despite plans currently
underway to export LPG, when The Sunday Leader contacted Managing
Director, Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC), M. Nageswaran, he said
LIOC was unaware of the proposal as they had not been informed to
date. However, Nageswaran maintained if the greenlight is issued to
IPPL, gas prices were likely to come down due to the high
competition in the market. "With the existing gas prices, the
country would benefit from this," he said.
IPPL has been importing LPG since
February 2002. It
imported 8,192 tonnes worth Rs. 93.98 million in 2001-02, 10721
Rs. 133.24 million in 2002-03, 14,435 tonnes
worth Rs. 204.24 million in 2003-04 and 45,631 tonnes worth
Rs. 867.17 million in 2004-05.
- Jamila Najmuddin
Bank ups performance
Seylan Bank has shown a 21.64% growth
in loans and advances and 15.06% growth in deposits according to the
2004 balance sheet released last week. The total assets of the bank
also grew by 10.16%, which is a reflection of the investments of new
funds that have been mobilised through the new deposits during the
Profit on ordinary activities after
normal loan loss provision, before the additional loan loss
provision and taxes amounted to Rs. 1.489 billion showing a
substantial growth of 70.7% over the previous years profit of Rs.
0.872 billion. The net interest income increased by 8.5% over the
previous year as a result of focusing on mobilising low cost
deposits which is reflected in the reduction of interest expenses by
Under the new provisioning requirements
by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, an additional provision of
approximately Rs. 800 million was made during 2004. Further, the
bank's overheads were controlled through focused strategies
including the setting up of a special cost control committee thereby
maintaining the cost to income ratio at an industry-accepted level
During the course of 2004 Seylan Bank
embarked on ambitious campaigns aimed at bottom up development by
virtue of which various sectors benefited to
a great degree.
laws to curb money laundering shortly
New laws to curb money laundering are
to be presented to cabinet shortly. The legislation is now in its
final stages of drafting at the Legal Draftsman's Department and
once completed, would be forwarded to the cabinet for approval and
then for parliamentary approval.
The Sunday Leader learns under the new
legislation, provision would be made for the Prevention of Money
Laundering Act. This law is intended to prohibit money laundering in
Sri Lanka by providing the necessary means to combat it and to
provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Under the proposed legislation, a new
regulatory authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), will
also be set up to collect, analyse and disseminate information
required for enforcement purposes. The law also provides for
cooperation between other regulatory authorities and the FIU, and
enables the FIU to cooperate with similar agencies abroad. Aware of
the vulnerability of financial systems to criminal activity and its
serious consequences and in the absence of specific legislation, the
Central Bank introduced certain measures through the regulatory
mechanism to enable the detection and investigation of the use of
the financial system for laundering the proceeds of crime.
These include the requirement for
banks, finance companies and primary dealers to have customer due
diligence, record keeping and "know your customer"
The Exchange Control Act can also be
used to counter cross border transactions.
The existing legal framework however is not adequate to deal
with the present threat of money laundering considering the speed at
which funds can now move from one location to another.
Taking into consideration international
initiatives, specific legislation to prevent money laundering and to
combat the financing of terrorism have now been drafted with the
Justice Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Legal Draftsman's
Department, Attorney General's Department, Police Department and the
Central Bank involved in the process. The proposed legislation
complies to the extent possible with internationally acceptable
standards, which are the recommendations of the Financial Action
Task Force (FATF) 40+UN 8 guidelines. Under the proposed new regime,
the act of money laundering, as well as attempting to and aiding and
abetting money laundering will be criminal and extraditable
offences. Mechanisms will also provide for the tracking, freezing
and confiscation of tainted assets.
The new law will impose requirements on
the identification of customers by financial institutions, and the
reporting of suspicious transactions and cash transactions above a
certain prescribed value and on record keeping.
- Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
acting like moda kollo?
By Dinesh Weerakkody
The UNP charged the country was
drifting towards a state of anarchy with conflicts among the
coalition partners of the government and within the cabinet of
ministers while essential services were facing the threat of a
breakdown. In addition they say there is widespread agitation
building in the south of the country over the government's failure
to effectively handle the post tsunami crisis coupled with soaring
inflation and failed promises.
The common feeling today is the UPFA
does not have the competence to govern while the JVP has betrayed
the people and policies that propelled them into power. Some UPFA
ministers have now resorted to display their unity despite Chandrika
Kumaratunga attacking the government saying she cannot work with
people who do not have experience or knowledge of matters concerning
People want solutions to their problems
and their concern is the government, divided as it is on many vital
national issues, is unable to move forward. Their squabbling like
children over issues that have to be solved on an urgent basis offer
no solace to the suffering thousands languishing in the tsunami
On the other hand, the JVP has been
vowing to pull out of the government if Kumaratunga opted to
privatise the CPC or CEB, or worked out a mechanism with LTTE to
disburse the tsunami aid. This threat has now become a joke in
political and business circles and as a result today the JVP is
branded as the "moda kollas" for their lack of maturity
and inexperience relating to matters of government.
If the JVP were true to its words and
conscience, it would have left the UPFA by now. The JVP and the SLFP
have no common economic policy and the JVP was anti-peace all along
so trying to iron out differences in government is making governance
difficult for Kumaratunga and as a result everything is heading to a
It is now over three years since Ranil
Wickremesinghe took the step to sign the ceasefire agreement with
the LTTE leader. Since then no other leader in the UPFA has had the
imagination or the courage to move this forward. The duty of
providing speedy relief to the thousands of tsunami victims,
particularly those languishing in the east and the north regions, is
the duty of the government. However with the LTTE and Kumaratunga
wrangling over the creation of a proper mechanism, the people of the
north and east have been denied of the tsunami aid.
The problems in the CPC and CEB have
also reached a breakdown point and are being pushed under the carpet
for want of a collective approach.
Many more public institutions like the SLTB and CWE keep
wobbling in the absence of political will. Inflation is now running
at 18 %. The building 150,000 houses for those displaced is not a
trivial issue either. The challenge before the government is to
rehouse these people as quickly as possible and use this opportunity
to give them a better deal than they had before.
The opportunity the donors are offering
us is unprecedented, therefore the JVP should not hold the
government to ransom, threatening to bring it down if the LTTE is
brought into the aid distribution mechanism. Instead they should
work with the government to make those brave decisions that can
alleviate the suffering of the tsunami victims.
Kumaratunga has completed 10 years as
President. While the UNP is saying she has accomplished next to
nothing, her supporters say she, unlike her predecessors, genuinely
fought for peace and freedom. Given the lack of mutual trust between
Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga and her overwhelming desire to remain
in power, the UNP is demanding that the presidential election should
be held before the end of the year.
According to the UNP, the proposed
referendum costing over Rs. 1 billion to extend her term, abolish
the presidency or for the joint mechanism is a scam for her to stay
in power and not to serve any other purpose.
Given the situation now, before long
the country is going to face an economic and political crisis that
could very well lead Kumaratunga to her own undoing. The reality is
the JVP has made governing very difficult for Kumaratunga by
effectively blocking any form of compromise with the LTTE or pursing
with the economic reforms that are required to keep her in the good
books of the donors. The net impact of all this is that they have
effectively blocked the flow of foreign aid, whether for tsunami or
Time to decide
In this backdrop the time has come for
Kumaratunga to decide whether she is going to risk her political
life and do what is good for the country or focus on backroom
politicking to extend her political life despite widespread
agitation building up against her government for messing up the
tsunami reconstruction. Going by her past track record she would
obviously look at an option that would ensure a stable political
life for herself.
The referendum aimed at abolishing the
executive presidency is most likely to be her preferred option. A
referendum simply held to extend her political life is bound to
cause a lot of political turmoil within the ranks of the SLFP, the
UNP and also the LTTE. However, given the current political and
economic climate, it may not be conducive and wise for Kumaratunga
to waste tax payers' money to run a referendum for mere personal
gain at the cost of the entire country.
Kumaratunga perhaps should come terms
with the fact that her reign is finally ending and work towards the
resolution of the conflict and prevent the economy taking a further
nose dive. Kumaratunga has little choice but to go ahead with the
joint mechanism and privatisation to ensure she gets the aid pledged
and since the JVP is divided and does not want to give up political
office she should make some brave choices for the sake of the
If the JVP is standing in the way of
peace and the JVP's campaign of hate is preventing the country
moving forward, Kumaratunga should try and work with the opposition
without intimidating it unnecessarily. This will not happen if
Kumaratunga is focused on seeking another six years, despite the
fact her actions could very well inflict deep and abiding wounds on
the polity of Sri Lanka. It is however up to the UNP to curb her
excesses and to ensure the government keeps to its promise of
providing employment and housing for the tsunami victims.
Further, the JVP is keen on becoming
the next major opposition party at a future general election and is
now pursuing its own political agenda. It will continue to engage
all trade unions and criticise the SLFP for its political survival
until it eats into the SLFP vote base and emerges as the main centre
of the left political party and finally becomes an alternative to
the UNP. If only Kumaratunga can least now accept the reality that
JVP is milking the SLFP dry and preventing the emergence of a
national consensus, she could wrap up her term on a positive note.
In the final analysis, we are faced
with a deepening political crisis and a serious financial crisis if
the monies pledged are held back therefore to mobilise those funds
she needs to work towards a national consensus and the future fate
of Kumaratunga and the JVP will depend on receiving those funds and
how it moves on with the tsunami reconstruction work and the stalled
surrounds container pile-up in port
By Jamila Najmuddin
Controversy surrounds the delay in
releasing 650 containers consisting of tsunami aid held at the
Despite a complaint lodged by the
shippers regarding the delay, Customs officials are of the view the
main cause for this is, many shippers being unaware of the arrival
of their goods at the Colombo Port.
According to the shippers, following a
meeting held last week regarding the delay with the Ports and
Aviation Ministry officials, it was decided the Ports Authority and
Customs Department would look into the matter soon.
However, according to the Customs
Department, 194 containers consisting of flour has already been
released to the World Food Programme and 55 containers consisting of
milk powder and other various products released to the Social
Services Ministry within the last few days.
"These containers have been held
in the Colombo Port for weeks but the containers are now being
released to the shippers," Director General, Customs, S.
Jayatilleke told The Sunday Leader.
Jayatilleke said the two main causes
for the delay are most of the containers being held within the SAGT
controlled area - an area in the Colombo Port owned by P&O
Terminal, and the lack of awareness regarding the arrival of goods
amongst the shippers.
He added that following the meeting
held last week, the Ports Authority has also decided to waive
charges in releasing the containers so that shippers would collect
their goods soon.
"The secretary to the Finance
Ministry has also requested the SAGT officials to waive charges on
the containers held within their area. However, we have received no
response from them upto date," Jayatilleke said, adding that
due the delay the shippers would have to pay large amounts to clear
Following the goods being held in the
port for weeks, Jayatilleke said the Ports Authority and the Customs
Department would hold back the containers for another week after
which they would be removed from the port for inspection.
"The Social Services Ministry has
been informed about the matter and if shippers do not clear the
goods within the next few days, the aid will be handed to the
Ministry for distribution," Jayatilleke added.
ends first quarter with profit up 47%
Nations Trust Bank (NTB) announced a
47% increase in profit after tax for the three months ended March
2005, with a group profit after tax of Rs. 22.5 million compared to
the same period last year. Operating profit before VAT and tax
increased by 36% to Rs. 48.6 million reflecting the continuing
growth momentum which the bank showed in the second half of 2004.
Customer deposits increased by 61% to
Rs. 11 billion compared to March 31, 2004 while advances also grew
by 43% to Rs. 9.4 billion during the same period. The focus on
acquisition of profitable customers has begun to show good returns
largely due to the significant improvement of information technology
capability and an emphasis on improving customer service levels.A
cost / income ratio of 82% (a drop from 75%), a healthy gross non
performing loans ratio of 5.2% and a comfortable liquidity ratio of
25%, all reveal the growing strength and stability of this
relatively new bank. Tier II capital adequacy ratio was 13.4% as at
the end of the quarter, with a further Rs. 320 million of the
subordinated debt (to be included under tier II capital) to be drawn
down in the second quarter, which will improve this ratio still
All the business units serving the
different target segments had an excellent quarter. The expansion
strategy was deferred as planned with a view to consolidate its
activities while the initiatives implemented in the period have paid
rich dividends and are amply reflected in the results reported.
The bank has an online branch network
that now stands at 26, with 30 ATMs that are linked to the American
Express network. The ATM card which is linked to the International
CIRRUS networks enables local access at over 200 ATMs. The flagship
Inner Circle personal banking product showed good progress, whilst
Nations Leasing, that was started in this quarter, got off to a good
start. The quarter saw a number of credit card initiatives launched
that included 'Fuel Up' with American Express and loan installment
schemes for the April festive season.
CEO, NTB , Zulfiqar Zavahir said,
"We are quite pleased with the results of the first quarter
despite sluggish market conditions. Extreme focus and a well thought
out business model have now started to show good returns. We can be
proud of the significant progress the bank has made and I have no
doubt the bank will maintain the momentum of growth and
profitability during the course of the year."
production: Emphasis on quality, not quantity
Despite a growth in tea production of
308 million kilogrammes in 2004, compared to the 303.2 million
kilogrammes during the previous year, Sri Lanka's tea exports have
recorded a notable decline of 0.5 million kilogrammes during the
With Kenya now placed at the number one
spot as the largest tea exporter in the world, the local tea
industry is facing a risk of severe competition against countries
such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
However, despite the decline in
exports, the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) is of the view although the
country's exports have shown a marginal decline, the industry will
maintain its theme of producing 'best quality tea' rather than large
quantities as Ceylon tea is currently rated amongst the best in the
"Even if the country has to
decrease its production, the country will maintain producing quality
tea rather than large quantities," Chairman, SLTB, Niraj De Mel
told The Sunday Leader. According to De Mel, the main reason for
Kenya's success was the country's virgin soil due to which large
amounts of tea could be produced.
"Kenyan soil is fresh and
countries prefer importing tea produced from virgin soil. Kenya had
also been rated as the largest tea exporters in 1997 due to this
reason," De Mel said.
According to statistics released by the
SLTB, exclusive local tea exports showed a marginal decline in 2004
of 290.6 million kilogrammes compared to 291.5 million kilogrammes
However, the country's earnings for
exclusive tea exports was recorded at Rs. 70.9 billion in 2004
compared to Rs. 63.1 billion in 2003. "Although there was a
decline in exports, earnings increased due to the decline in rupee
against the dollar during this period," De Mel said.
Chairman, Tea Association of Sri Lanka,
Ajit Goonetilleke maintained although the country's tea exports had
shown a marginal decline, the country's tea production had increased
from 303 million kilogrammes in 2003 to 308 million kilogrammes in
Goonetilleke further maintained
although Kenya was now rated as the largest tea producer in the
world, Ceylon tea was however rated as the best quality tea in the
world. "Ceylon Tea still maintains its number one
quality," he said.
Kenya, which produced 293 million
kilogrammes in 2003, increased its production to 325 million
kilogrammes in 2004. However, India which had the largest production
in 2003 of 857 million kilogrammes, decreased its production to 820
million kilogrammes in 2003.
De Mel and Goonetilleke both maintained
while 38% of the country's tea is produced by large companies, 62%
is produced by small holders. They also maintained that Sri Lanka's
estate labour wages were currently rated as the highest in the
Meanwhile, according to statistics
released by Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers (Pvt) Ltd., tea production
of 24.8 million kilogrammes for the month of March shows a growth of
1.5 million kilogrammes compared with the 23.2 million kilogrammes
produced during the same period last year.
High grown production shows a growth of
1.6 million kilogrammes whilst the medium grown production shows a
growth of an estimated one million kilogrammes compared with the
same period last year. The low growns however reflect a decline of
1.2 million kilogrammes this month.
- Jamila Najmuddin
for JKH shareholders
The Board of Directors of John Keells
Holdings Limited has decided to recommend to the shareholders a
scrip issue of one ordinary share for every five existing ordinary
shares and to recommend to shareholders the payment of a final
dividend of 10%, on the increased, post scrip issue, capital.
Following the scrip issue, the issued capital of JKH will increase
to approximately 398 million shares. With the final dividend of 10%
on the increased capital, the total gross payout for the financial
year ended March 31, 2005 will be approximately Rs. 1,060 million,
an increase of 33% from the payout of Rs. 795 million in the
Assurance shares moved to CSE main board
Shares of HNB Assurance Ltd. which were
hitherto listed on the second board of the Colombo Stock Exchange
have been transferred to main board. Thus, HNB Assurance has become
only the fourth insurance company to be listed on the main board of
the CSE. It was able to earn this upgrading by fulfilling three
important criteria relating to the issued capital, profitability and
the proportion of shares held by the general public. With an issued
capital of Rs. 250 million, it comfortably surpassed the CSE main
border requirement of Rs. 75 million. A spokesman for HNB Assurance
described this move as "an importance milestone for the company
that signifies its stepping into the big league joining the ranks of
larger listed companies."
oil and aroma trade delegation visits Sri Lanka
A 15-member delegation representing the
world's leading buyers of essential oils and oleoresins toured the
main spice producing areas of the island last week. The purpose of
their visit is to gain insights into the production and trading
systems for spices, essential oils and oleoresins in Sri Lanka. The
study tour was organised by the International Federation of
Essential Oils and Aroma Traders (IFEAT), in collaboration with the
Spices And Allied Products Producers' and Traders' Association (SAPPTA),
Spice Council and the Sri Lankan members of IFEAT (Link Natural
Products (Pvt) Ltd., H. D. De Silva & Sons (Pvt) Ltd., and EOAS
International). The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) has
also joined hands with the organising committee to ensure the
success of this programme.
Finance concludes private placement of hire purchase receivables
Asian Finance successfullyconcluded the
private placement of hire purchase receivables backed by trust
certificates of Rs. 135 million recently. According to Investec
Capital (Pvt) Ltd., the arranger / lead manager to the placement,
this placement ranks to be the first ever true sale of hire purchase
receivable securitisation in Sri Lanka. A special purpose vehicle,
AFL hire purchase trust one, was created to issue floating rate
senior certificates which will be due over a period of three years.
The issue was structured and placed by Investec Capital (Pvt) Ltd.
Deutsche Bank AG Colombo branch has been appointed trustee to manage
the AFL fund.
introduces forward sales contract system in Jaffna
Hatton National Bank (HNB) signed an
agreement with Central Bank in 2004 to implement the 'Poverty
Elevation Micro Finance Project' funded by the Japanese Bank for
International Cooperation (JBIC), in the north and east regions.
During the last two cultivation seasons HNB has signed 12,820
agreements under the forward sales contract scheme which benefited
16,000 farmers throughout the island and recently launched the
scheme in Northern Province. During the HNB and CBSL joint visit,
the first facility under this scheme to purchase paddy was provided
to Anna Industries, a long standing manufacturer of food products.
The scheme is a Central Bank sponsored project to provide benefit to
farmer by a guaranteed price and also providing guaranteed
quality/quantity to buyers. HNB jointly with CBSL organised a
training program on the project and the forward sales contract
system for bank officials in the newly renovated Jaffna library.
launches freighter service to Coimbatore
SriLankan Cargo launched a freighter
service to the South Indian industrial city of Coimbatore on April
27, yet another step in its strategy of linking major industrial
cities in the region to Colombo and beyond. The twice-weekly service
will operate on Wednesday and Saturday with the airline's two AN 12F
aircraft, which each have a capacity of 17 metric tonnes of cargo in
Palletts. SriLankan Cargo already operates regular freighter
services to Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Trivandrum, and Male. This
is in addition to SriLankan Airlines' regular flights servicing 70
times weekly to 10 cities in India. "Our new service to
Coimabatore will enhance our strategic objective to connect major
industrial centres throughout the subcontinent with Colombo, which
is the hub in the ocean," said Head (Cargo), SriLankan
Airlines, Nalin Rodrigo.
programme with Alan Fell
Future Wave (Pvt) Ltd. (FWPL) was
launched on April 6 at the Trans Asia Hotel with an introduction
presentation on strategic management through the balanced scorecard.
FWPL is a professional organisation that is dedicated to human
resource development, namely the area of skills development. The
company would facilitate both in-house of training offered by FWPL
have been designed in consultation with other professionals and the
corporate sector. The FWPL team consists of professionals in the
fields of marketing, finance and administration. Prasanna Perera is
the management consultant for FWPL. FWPL will facilitate a one day
programme on 'Strategic Management Through The Balanced Scorecard'
with Alan Fell from UK on June 28.
opens Hasalaka centre
Seylan Bank opened its Hasalaka
convenient banking centre recently. Pictured is Chairman, Seylan
Bank, Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawela opening the branch. Director
/ General Manager / Chief Executive, Seylan Bank, Ajith Pasqual is
also in the picture.
Modern Montessori launched
Ceylinco Consolidated launched the
group's latest company, Ceylinco Modern Montessori Ltd., a join
venture with Modern Montessori International in the UK recently. The
collaboration between the two companies will introduce early
childhood education of an international calibre to Sri Lanka. The
letters of agreement were exchanged by Chairman, Ceylinco
Consolidated, Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawela and Chairman / CEO,
Modern Montessori International Group, T. Chandroo. Based in London,
the Modern Montessori International chain covers countries such as
Singapore, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and
House wins top IBM awards
PC House (Pvt) Ltd. recently won the
'Top Business Partner Reseller Award For IBM PCD Business' at the
IBM Kickoff 2005, an annual event held to recognise the company's
top performing business partners in Sri Lanka. Two 'Manager's
Recognition' awards were also won by Feizal Carder (sales manager,
corporate sector) and Shehan Samarasooriya (sales manager, public
sector) of PC House. Expressing delight at his Company's
achievement, Chairman, PC House, S.H.M. Rishan said that while
revenue contribution was the key criterion in the 'Top Business
Partner Reseller Award,' professionalism in conduct, long term
thinking and strategic initiatives were the major factors in the
'Manager's Recognition' awards.
Moved My Cheese?' performance
The international performance 'Who
Moved My Cheese?' will be presented by founder and CEO, Center for
Change Management, Mumbai, Dr. R. L. Bhatia, at the Trans Asia Hotel
on May 16. The
Sri Lanka Institute of Directors, which excels in creating
opportunities to enrich its membership of over 600 top directors in
Sri Lanka will host this programme. This will be a first time
experience for corporate Sri Lanka. The programme is based on the
best seller Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson and will be
a live performance with sound, AVs and a narrator. Dr. Bhatia will
also be the guest speaker at the fifth annual general meeting of the
Sri Lanka Institute of Directors, which will be held on the same
celebrates launch of Xiamen services
Cathay Pacific Airways celebrated the
official launch of services from Hong Kong to Xiamen at a gala
dinner in the Fujian Province city hosted by Chief Executive, Philip
Chen with guest of honour, Xiamen Vice Mayor, Xu Mo, Director
General, Civil Aviation Eastern Region (Administration Department),
Xia Xinhua and about 100 invited guests recently. The
three-times-weekly service from Hong Kong to Xiamen commenced on
February 28 to extend the airline's network in the Chinese mainland
and further strengthen Hong Kong as a global hub and gateway to the
Global Leaders Summit
The Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants (CIMA) Sri Lanka division will be hosting the 2005
Global Leaders Summit scheduled for May 26, 27 and 28. This event
will feature the highly regarded global leaders of today. This three
day event, a part of the CIMA events calendar, is expected to
attract over 1,000 delegates from CIMA's global membership and
business affiliations providing a welcome boost to business travel
into Sri Lanka.
programme on Emerging Retail Landscape in Sri Lanka'
The CIM Professional Series has been
developed by The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Sri Lanka, to
provide exposure to CIM diplomates and the business fraternity in
Sri Lanka to acquire essential skills in marketing and absorb ideas
that are relevant to the constantly changing marketing environment.
The series also gives CIM members the opportunity to gain
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) hours towards achieving
chartered marketer status. Targeting marketing and sales
professionals in the FMCG, service marketing and retail
organisations, the CIM professional series programme, 'Emerging
Retail Landscape in Sri Lanka - Trends And Challenges' gives an
insight into the emerging retailing trends in the Sri Lankan market
comparing them with the rest of the South Asian region.
It also discusses the challenges and opportunities companies
encounter, followed by a discussion on best practices used. The key
speakers are Managing Director, Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd., Ranjit Page,
Sales Director, New Zealand Milk Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., Metha
Abeygunawardena and Managing Director, ACNielsen Sri Lanka, Dwight
programme will be held on May 5 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at Park Premier
Lounge, Excel World.
children win trip through Ceylinco 'Ran Daru Sawari'
Two lucky children and their parents
were celebrating even before the Avurudhu dawned after they won an
all-expenses-paid trip to Sentosa Island in Singapore courtesy
Ceylinco Life. The company's island-wide 'Ran Daru Sawari' promotion
culminated with a draw at Pinnawela, attended by 250 children from
all districts of Sri Lanka, who were treated to lunch, a tour of the
elephant orphanage and an outdoor entertainment programme at a
ground nearby. The winners of the grand prize of a trip to Sentosa
Island were two girls from Hatton and Maradana. They will be
accompanied by their parents
on this trip.
The picture caption in the story 'Controversy over Lanka's
tea production' on page 21 in last week's The Sunday Leader had
inadvertently been mentioned as Director General, SLTB, H.D.
Hemaratna when it should have read as Chairman, Tea Association of
Sri Lanka, Ajith Goonatillake.
The picture caption on Page 28 in last week's issue of The
Sunday Leader titled 'Steuartel - pioneer in telecommunications'
should have read as General Manager, Sahan Sonnadara.
ventures into real estate with Brookland
By Easwaran Rutnam
Brookland Estate Project at
Athurugiriya is the first project undertaken by Access Developments
Ltd., a member of the Access Group of Companies, as it enters the
real estate business.
Situated approximately one and a half
kilometers away from the Athurugiriya town and just 20 minutes away
from Colombo, Brookland Estate is complete with pipe-borne water and
electricity for each block.
Speaking about the project,
Director/CEO, Access Developments Ltd, Chrishan Ferdinando said that
Brookland Estate follows the vision of the Chairman, Access Group of
Companies to venture into the real estate business.
"We have planned to go for land
sales in the short term and housing projects in the medium and long
term. Access Developments Ltd. was created with this in mind and
Brookland Estate is its first offering," Ferdinando said.
The Athurugiriya land is in a prime
location surrounded by a coconut estate, a rubber estate and a paddy
field, and has a separate 20-foot wide tarred road that leads to all
Access Developments Ltd. has also made
it easier for interested customers to purchase lands by offering
easy installment schemes through leading banks.
Ferdinando says that the interest
charged by the banks is lower than that charged by finance companies
and added that for the convenience of the customer Access
Developments Ltd., handles all the paper work when obtaining the
As this is the first project initiated
by Access Developments Ltd., the company has decided to offer land
at an introductory price of Rs. 68,000 per perch.
Brookland Estate project has taken into
account a green environment and has retained most of the trees
whilst only clearing the area necessary for building.
Research shows that there is a steady
demand for house and property in Sri Lanka and Access Developments
Ltd., has selected the opportune time to enter the market.
This view was certified by the General
Manager, Access Developments, Ajith Karunaratne who said that there
has been a positive response with inquiries about the land even
before media advertising was carried out.
Karunaratne noted that there is a big
demand for property away from the hustle and bustle of the Galle
Road and this has been proven by some of the inquiries the company
"Most of the inquiries have been
from residents in the south who are keen to move into a more serene
environment closer to Colombo," he said.
Athurugiriya City is fast developing as
a prime location for housing and Brookland Estate project is the
ideal opportunity for interested customers to purchase land in close
proximity to the city.
On the advantage of purchasing land
from Access Developments Ltd., Karunaratne explained
that most property development companies in the market today
are finance companies.
When purchasing land from these
companies on installment schemes, the title for the property is not
transferred to the customer until the full payment is made.
"The customer has to wait till he
pays the full payment over a period of several months before he
starts building on the property as the title needs to be in his name
to build on the land," Karunaratne noted.
Access Developments Ltd., has arranged
with leading banks to grant loans repayable in maximum 15 yrs
(subject to conditions) on easy monthly installments so that the
customer could purchase
the land without much of a financial burden.
Karunaratne went on to say that the
company is offering a six percent discount to customers who
make full payment on purchase of land
Access Group is recognised for its
quality products and services in the market and as Access
Developments Ltd., is a member of the group customers are guaranteed
of a quality service from the start till the end.
PVC pipes and fittings - synonymous with quality
Central Industries Ltd., the
manufacturers of National PVC pipes and fitings, is a name
synonymous with quality.
Central Industries Limited is a public
quoted and an ISO 9001:2000 system certified company and a
subsidiary of the prestigious Central Finance Group.
Sales Manager - Corporate, Mass Aron
and Sales Manager - Dealer Network, Sapumal Herat said that the
company commenced operations in 1985 to manufacture quality pipes
under the brand name 'National'
and in 1998 embarked on an ambitious diversification
programme providing a range of quality products to customers, which
are handpicked and are subjected to stringent quality assurance
tests before being released to the market.
The product portfolio of the company,
both locally manufactured products and imported products include
National PVC pipes and
fittings, rigid electrical conduits, irrigation pipes,
drainage/sewerage pipes and fittings, rain water roofing gutters and
fittings, telecom pipes, water tanks, septic tanks, Krypton
electrical switches and accessories, Aquatec water pumps, Netlon
range of products, which include agro shading, mosquito netting,
fencing, tea withering netting and verandah shading and
Pidilite range of adhesives.
The company markets their products to
the retail trade and to the corporate segments thorough their dealer
network division and through their projects division headed by Herat
and Aron respectively.
In view of heavy competition,
advertising and promotion have become an integral component of CIL
activities. In addition to the media campaigns CIL also conducts
programmes such as dealer conventions and workshops at strategic
market locations. The company also conducts programmes is
association with relevant government institutions.
In the near future the company will be
manufacturing quality electrical switches an accessories under the
brand name 'Krypton' to conform to both local and international
standards. According to both managers
Krypton will have its unique design and aesthetic features to
appeal to the domestic and international markets.
They say the company has an obligation
towards their customers in providing quality products and services.
can transform your home
Faced with the daunting array of paint
chips at your home center, you might decide that white is a good
idea after all. White is safe; searching for the just-right colour
can be confusing.
But the world is a colourful place.
Wouldn't it be great to bring some of its vitality into your home,
knowing that you'll be pleased with the results? You can.
After all, it's the most powerful decorating tool at your
disposal. With a little knowledge and a sense of adventure, you can
transform your home with colour.
Mastering colour is easier than you
might think. You'll quickly discover that there is no such thing as
'bad colour,' just inappropriate colour. Appropriateness is as much
about the quality of a colour - how light or dark, how bright or
dull, how warm or cool it is - as the hue itself. You can make
almost any colour work when you choose and combine them with these
characteristics in mind.
You'll also learn that colours don't
exist in isolation. They coexist and interact, and you simply can't
predict how they will behave in one another's company until you see
them together. That's why it's important to audition potential
fabric, flooring, paint and other samples in your home before buying
materials. Think of it as 'trying on' colour. This fabric works;
that paint doesn't. You can almost measure the pleasure as your
Decorating materials themselves aren't
free, but the magic of colour is, and any combination is yours for
the asking. Be open to the possibilities. With a grasp of the basics
and a confident approach, you'll soon feel at home with color - and
welcome it into your home.
Did you know that the human eye can
discern more than six million colours? Of course you are not
required to know them all - that's a relief! - and in practice
you'll use only a handful in your home.
As you take in the ideas and concepts
and begin to formulate your own colour plan, push yourself a little.
That's right: push yourself. You can always pull back when you get
into unfamiliar (and scary) territory. If you venture confidently in
the direction of colors that you love, you are sure to meet with
more success than if you were timid to begin with. A home that
resonates with colour harmony will be your reward.
solutions in roofing insulation from FRP Services
F.R.P. Services & Co. (Lanka) Ltd.
offers the best roofing insulation solutions to the market in
keeping with world standards and finest quality. The 25-year-old
company has been specialising in insulation solutions from the
inception and also offers a range of other high quality products to
the construction industry.
The company obtains their products
directly from their foreign manufacturers and also insists that they
directly sell the product to the customer where they can oversee
that high standards are met with in product specification, sales,
installation as well as after sales.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader regarding
the roofing insulation market, Director Marketing, F.R.P. Services
& Co. (Lanka) Ltd., Sudath De Fonseka explained that there are
many types of roofing insulation materials available in the market.
The most proven and the cost effective type is the aluminium foil.
However, selecting the correct type and the best quality is very
important as the aluminium foil is continuously exposed to heat /
As a matter of fact the quality of the
aluminium layer on the foil makes a big impact on the lifetime as
well as the effectiveness of the material. Some traders say it is
not so. Due to the quality of the aluminium, the pin hole effect on
the surface changers. When the pinhole factor is high the moisture
will pass through to the center craft paper and will allow the
aluminium to start peeling off from the craft paper.
"Our aluminum foil - Sisalation -
has the lowest pin hole factor where almost '0' amount of water
vapour is allowed to migrate to the craft paper, which is in between
two thin layers of aluminum foil," he explained.
The Australian manufacturer uses only
premium grade aluminium foil and virgin craft paper in producing
Sisalation. This ensures guaranteed performance and foil to last as
long as the roof.
Kimmco Glass Wool is the other product
that is widely used in roof insulation. This can be used in
combination with Sisalation for optimum results ensuring that almost
0 % of heat is transmitted through the roof and also providing sound
control especially in the zincaluminim type roofs.
Regarding the insulation market he
pointed out that there are several products that are being sold as
insulation but do not really offer any benefit to the customer.
"Foam products are one of such
products. Frankly speaking, foam is a good insulation but the
thicknesses such as 3mm , 4mm ... etc. does not offer any benefit.
Added to same the customers are being cheated by indicating the foam
is laminated to an aluminium foil. What you see in every hardware
shop is a foam that is bonded to a metalised plastic film. Metalised
plastic will never do the job of aluminium. Any other material that
looks like aluminium cannot provide the insulation properties of
"Apart from this, foam material on
the roof can be very much fire hazardous to the building, given the
fact that plastic can catch fire very fast and also melt for the
heat and transport the fire while letting out toxic gases,"
said De Fonseka.
Such a product, he says will not be
useful to the end user as well as ruin the trust that the users have
You will have to use at least 40 mm
thick foam to
match the results of 50mm thick glass wool and a layer of foil. Yet
this is not practical as the cost of 40mm foam will be far too high
and Installation too will be an issue.
However given the fact his company does
not forsake profit for quality, they guarantee that their roofing
insulation will last as long as the roof of the building lasts.
" This is the reason we ask all
potential users of roof insulation to buy their material direct from
a specialist rather than accepting packages offered in the market.
Thereby they will have a guarantee that they have got value for
money and more importantly the purpose of insulation is met rather
than being happy in mind for using insulation material in their
FRP Services & Co. (Lanka) Ltd. is
also the largest importer of Sisalation aluminum foil and sells this
insulation from their office and a few other outlets. The company
also expects to set up more of their branches in other strategic
towns such as Kandy, Kurunegala .etc. and other popular places so
that they can keep an eye on the entire process of selling the
product until it is used by the client.
"A client can come to us from any
part of the island and we will guarantee a high quality product as
well as see to the installation and even offer after sales services
and support," added De Fonseka. The company will even offer
their expert knowledge to the constructor, mason or the roofing
contractor who are to set the material, so that the ultimate benefit
is gained in roofing insulation. Being specialists in this field De
Fonseka says that several factors are considered when they offer
their product. "We advice on how the aluminum foil should be
placed to get optimum results, given the fact that in this country
the climate can change quickly from very humid conditions to rain,
we also see to what type of roofing is use such as asbestos, tiles
or zincaluminium and also the method the ceiling is done. All these
have to be considered and insulation should be placed at the proper
position to obtain results."
Insisting that even if contractors are
given the job of putting up a building the client should insist on
high quality roofing insulation is used to avoid accidents and
unnecessary expenditure in future.
"Ultraviolet rays are very
dangerous and can be hazardous to both humans and buildings, so
roofing insulation is crucial and using the best quality insulation
is important, rather than just settling for a product that is said
to be insulation but actually offers no benefit because of its
inability to do so," emphasizes De Fonseka.
The latest other product the company is
exclusively selling presently is multicell
Polycarbonate panels to provide daylight solutions to
buildings. This product is known as Danpalon, manufactured in
Israel, and is the only product that is a complete roofing system
that guarantees that there will be no leaks whatsoever. Clamps and
fasteners are used in this product and there is absolutely no
A roofing system can be set up in a
short time and without any drilling being done to the material. The
product at the moment is imported on client requirements, and some
of the places where this product has been used is Apollo Hospital,
Excel World and on the Beira Lake island to name a few.
to build for masons
A project was launched recently at the
Galle Holcim UKG 'Mahagedara' for the distribution of tools worth Rs.
2 million among tsunami affected masons in the Galle District. A
tool kit to the value of Rs. 15,000 was given away to each mason by
Holcim Lanka Ltd. as a part of the Rs. 150 million 'Holcim
Rebuilding Fund' project.
At the three hour ceremony held on this
day, which was attended by 175 masons, the highlight was the lecture
delivered by Dr. Chandana Gunawardene on 'Positive Thinking' which
lifted the spirits of all the participants.
The main objective of this workshop was
to promote unity and empower the masons to start rebuilding their
lives which is also the communication theme of Holcim, Building
B. A. Samathapala de Silva, a mason
with 45 years experience said that "We lost all our property
due to the tsunami. Our tools were washed away. The gravest was the
mental agony that we suffered during the last three months. The
material and mental support extended by Holcim is highly appreciated
at this needy hour."
The Rs. 150 mn 'Holcim Rebuilding Fund'
was immediately set up by Holcim Lanka Ltd. with a view to restoring
the lives and belongings of those affected by the tsunami. Firstly,
Chairman, Manilal Fernando and CEO/MD, Peter Sprig personally
visited the Holcim factory and the surrounding villages and provided
immediate relief to the needy. Subsequently, the Holcim Rebuilding
Fund was set up. Its custodians are Paul Hugan Tobler (Executive
Member Holcim / Asian and South Asian Region), Manilal Fernando
(Chairman, Holcim Lanka), Peter Sprig (CEO/MD Holcim Lanka), and
Sarvodaya is also an active participator.
The Holcim Rebuilding Fund consists of
contributions from the staff of Holcim Lanka Ltd., Holcim
Headquarters in Switzerland and about 50,000 employees spread across
Manager (CSR), Rathika De Silva said
that "Our theme is 'Rebuilding Life'. Tsunami destroyed lives
and buildings. We see the role of Holcim as building lives. Holcim
cement is produced using local raw material and local human
resources, this was in our hearts when we stepped forward to help
our own countrymen at a time of absolute crisis."
The other activities of the fund
include constructing 750 new houses, providing relief and aid to
tsunami affected employees in the Galle factory, constructing a
school in Matara, and training 240 Jaffna inhabitants in
'constructing skills.' Holcim's keen dedication and enthusiasm in
helping their own sales representatives and distributors was a
prominent feature throughout the project.
Marketing Manager, Holcim Lanka, Indika
Jayaweera said that "In the aftermath of tsunami, we
immediately replaced the stocks of 61 distributors and three sales
agents and also renovated their damaged buildings free of charge. In
January we conducted a lecture on 'Positive Thinking' to our
distributors and agents with a view to psychologically strengthening
them, living the theme of Building Life."
He further said that " Holcim has
been instrumental in raising the standards of building construction
in Sri Lanka by introducing three types of cement to be used for
different purposes. In keeping with our motto 'with you in mind' we
have exhibited our commitment and dedication to our employees and
stakeholders in the aftermath of the tsunami in our genuine and
heartfelt efforts to engage in their welfare through Building
floor slabs - a cost effective sloution
Prestressed concrete floor system is
the answer to reduce the lost of laying floors by 30%. ICC
(International Construction Consortium) has now introduced this SBS
floor system by creating yet another novel creation for the
ICC established in 1980 is today one of
Sri Lanka's leading contractors with multi capabilities in the
construction industry. ICC has won the IFAWPCA Gold Medal for Civil
Engineering Construction in 2002 and ICTAD Award for Construction
Excellence in 2002. It has also achieved ISO 9001:2000
With the wealth of experience gathered
through the years, ICC is one of the pioneer companies to provide
complementary assistance to the construction industry. A novel
pre-cast product among these is the ICC SBS floor system - an
effective, low cost alternative to in-situ concrete floor slabs .
While assuring excellent quality, it saves more than 30% on steel
and cement costs.
A main problem facing normal in-situ
concrete slabs is the enormous amount of bamboo plank props required
whereas SBS Floor Systems require no shuttering, being hassle free
as well as being a rapid method of construction with pre cast
elements manufactured and tested in a state-of-the art laboratory.
ICC SBS Flooring Solution saves money,
time and could proudly boast of more than 6,000 SBS slabs completed
islandwide with the proven track record a reflection of it. Besides
the demand for
this unique product, generally residential floor slabs are designed
to impose 150kg per square meter. But a SBS floor slab can bear an
enhanced load of up 500kg per square meter. Technical officers of
ICC come to the point of construction and deliver technical advise.
More over, now ICC has arranged free transport for up to a distance
of 20km from their yard at Madapatha to ease the hassle of
complete furniture solutions
Malindu Group of Companies has been one
of the pioneers in the fields of both timber and furniture
industries and over the years has brought honour and prestige to the
The establishment was initiated in 1982
by Gamini Ranasinghe who is currently the chairman of the group. A
veteran in the field of timber, he initially began his business
through the import of timber from countries such as Singapore,
Malaysia, Burma, and South Africa under the name Malindu Timber (Pvt)
Malindu Timber (Pvt) Ltd was the first
company to introduce 'Kempas' to Sri Lanka, which is a mixed
hardwood used very famously in the field of construction. Further
more the company was also the first to import 1000 tonnes of timber
to Sri Lanka in one shipment. Initially starting off as a sole
proprietor business, the company today has spread its wings to many
other fields. The group currently consists of the following
companies: Malindu Timber (Pvt) Ltd, Malindu International, Malindu
Exports, and Oxford College of Business.
Malindu International has become one of
the most prominent companies within the group which specialises in
the manufacture of laminated, knock-down type furniture. The company
uses state of the art machinery from USA, UK and Germany and is the
only such high-tech furniture company in Sri Lanka.
Over the years the company has
specialised in the manufacture of pantry/kitchen systems to the Sri
Lankan market and today is the market leader in the manufacture of
knock-down type kitchen systems. There are many advantages of using
laminated kitchen systems namely: it is water resistant, long
lasting, scratch resistant, easily wipes off dirt, and has a wide
array of glamorous designs and colours to select from, ranging from
classical wood grain colours to high gloss finishes.
Malindu International is today the
leading manufacturer of pantry cupboards. The reason for its success
has been its high quality laminated doors, speedy service (a tailor
made pantry could be delivered and installed within three working
days), five and a half year guarantee on all items sold to
customers, and its excellent after sales service which no other
furniture provider currently offers to its customers.
Away from its pantry cupboards, Malindu
International also manufactures household furniture and office
furniture. The Group Working Director also went on record to say
that they intend on opening up a few showrooms around Colombo
shortly and also stated that the company hopes to offer customers
high quality laminated and high gloss complete pantry units (with
all accessories) and granite tops starting at Rs.200,000.
"Our main objective is to give
customers high quality products at affordable prices within a very
short period of time. This helps the customers to understand that
the same product imported by certain other competitors could be
obtained for cheaper prices within a shorter period of time."
Today Malindu International exports
some of its products to Maldives and the Middle East. In an attempt
to separate the market and take quality to a new level the group has
also introduced enamel kitchens. Known as TAKARA Standard Kitchens,
is the sole agents for this world famous brand, which is imported
from Japan. The special features of the TAKARA systems are that they
are water proof, fire proof, wipes off dirt easily, beautiful, and
elegant. In addition Malindu International also offers a lifetime
guarantee on TAKARA Standard Kitchen systems, backed by excellent
after sales service which is another first in Sri Lanka.
The other ventures of Malindu Group of
Malindu Exports - Manufacture and export of plywood doors to
the Middle Eastern market
Oxford College of Business - Which offers both professional
and academic business courses with more than 2000 students currently
following various business programmes
Malindu Chipboards - this is the latest introduction to the
group, which manufactures chipboards, which is a better substitute
for MDF boards with the added benefit of being water proof and much
stronger than MDF.
perfect lighting - in the bathroom...
The glorious new tub, the beautiful new
fixtures, and the sleek countertops always get top billing in the
bathroom remodel. But don't forget one of the players most worthy of
the spotlight - the lighting.
Lighting designers say a mix of
different lighting types is essential in the bathroom to help blend
all the bathroom's elements and create a unified look.
Unlike other rooms of the house, the
bathroom is crammed with an assortment of materials and finishes.
"You have wall tile, floor tile,
shower tile, faucet hardware, towel bars, wallpaper and paint all in
a space often smaller than 100 square feet," said Dan Blitzer,
a Manhattan-based educator for the American Lighting Association.
There are three general types of
lighting: general lighting provides overall illumination; task
lighting provides light for a specific task, like reading, homework,
and computer work; and accent lighting puts the spotlight on a piece
of art, plants, or other favourite possession.
Sara Susanka, a Minnesota architect
best known for her books, The Not So Big House (Taunton Press,
1998), Creating The Not So Big House (Taunton Press, 2000), and Not
So Big Solutions For Your Home (Taunton Press, 2002), says a mix of
lighting in different intensities adds interest and depth to a small
space. For example, she suggests combining uplighting in a corner, a
pool of light from a table lamp and accent lighting on an
"It's the contrast that makes it
(the space) feel bigger," Susanka says.
Meanwhile, lighting experts say that
homeowners undertaking bathroom remodeling projects are often in the
dark when it comes to thinking about lighting.
"When we look at the amount of
money that people invest in building or renovating bathrooms, a
proper lighting plan has the potential to deliver dramatic results,
costs only a small fraction of the project budget, and yet is often
lacking or overlooked," said Gary Taylor, president of Living
Lighting in Ontario.
Lighting experts suggest you focus on
all the elements of the bathroom, including:
Showers. Light fixtures should be bright enough so you can
see when you're shaving and shampooing. Also, choose one that can
stand up to the water.
Experts say you'll want good general light, which a recessed fixture
offers. Aim the light's beam at the outside edge of the tub to
Keep dressings and blinds open during the day to provide plenty of
light. Illuminate the floor in the toespace between vanities and
cabinets with a linear lighting system.
light. Indirect - also called cove - lighting through a hidden light
source provides a soft, warm glow to the bathroom.
Warm fluorescent vertical wall sconces will provide you with even
lighting on your face - essential for applying cosmetics or shaving.
A halogen light placed above the vanity provides cross lighting when
used with wall sconces.
touches. Table lamps add a soft, human touch to the bathroom.
ceiling. For an elegant touch - as well as some extra light -
suspend a decorative light fixture from the ceiling.
commode. Yes, experts even suggest placing focused floor or halogen
fixtures above the potty for watercloset reading.
Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse says
on its web site that the options in bathroom lighting have
dramatically increased over the past few years. One of the most
popular trends is 'design and combine' bath bars in which you choose
the wall bracket (or fitter) you like the best and then select from
the many available styles of glass shades to go with it.
And if you're afraid you might overdo
the lighting, don't be.
"You can never have too much light
in the bathroom," said Todd Phillips, president of lighting
manufacturer Quoizel. "It's easy to install a dimmer control to
reduce the amount of light to create a mood."
- Michele Dawson
& Decker dealers feted
Black & Decker Overseas AG Home
Appliances represented in Sri Lanka by Delmege General Equipment (Pvt)
Ltd., held their first dealer meet recently at The Colombo Plaza Oak
Room. The meet was well attended by dealers from around the country.
Managing Director, Delmege Forsyth & Company Ltd, Kosala
Dissanayake gave the welcome address followed by
Regional Head, Black & Decker, Sanjiv Dadlani who thanked
the dealers for their sales efforts in promoting the range of Black
and Decker home appliances.
The dealers were given time to visit
the mock up Black & Decker home and learn first hand the
features of the various home appliances on display.
The highlight of the evening was the
presentation of awards to recognise outstanding sales efforts by
Black and Decker dealers. Chairman, Delmege General Equipment,
Devaka Cooray together with Director, Delmege, Shamil Mendis and
Sanjiv Dadlani gave away the awards.
The Gold Award was won by Laksala Trade
Center - Kiribathgoda, Silver Award was won by Paragon Electronics -
the Bronze Award was won by Samarasiri Electronics (Pvt) Ltd. -
regional awards were also given out.
of asbestos waste
it a fact that the asbestos manufactured in Sri Lanka has
been banned in the developed world as it is classified to be
highly carcinogenic in character?
If the answer is yes, could some
knowledgeable person or someone in authority explain how is it that
in Sri Lanka production goes on at a tremendous pace and even
expansion of the industry continues?
All and sundry, it appears, are
indifferent to the calamity that could befall the Sri Lankan
population. Governments come and governments go. Environmentalist
periodically protest but production and expansion of asbestos based
The manner in which the toxic waste is
disposed of is frightening. Scant respect is shown to either the
environment or the population living in the environs of these waste
dumps. The powers that be are either totally indifferent or helpless
to control these unscrupulous industrialists. Who or what is the
authority that is supposed to ensure that toxic waste is not
disposed in the open?
Is periodic auditing done by the CEA or any other authority
to ensure that proper waste management systems are adhered to once
these factories are in production?
Some of these industrialists are on
record saying that their factories follow very strict pollution
control. This may well be the case within the factories itself.
However when it comes to the disposal of sludge and asbestos waste
the industrialists totally ignore basic norms. Asbestos waste is
dumped on open ground and in residential neighbourhoods. This is a
carcinogenic time bomb and a death knell to those living in the
In Mount Lavinia
asbestos waste, sludge and waste polythene material is
disposed by a factory in the neighbourhood. This is a regular
occurrence. To add insult to injury with every new load the vehicles
drive over the already disposed waste, pulverising it and these fine
particles are dispersed into the air. Residents in turn inhale these
fine particles, the homes carry a layer of fine dust and our system
takes this in. Periodically a massive bon fire is also lit to get
rid of the polythene bags that are also dumped there.
On a complaint made to the CEA, the DG
(obviously an excellent administrator) promptly sent a team on
inspection. Photographs were taken and the dump site visited. A
letter has been addressed to The Minister of Environment as well. We
presume action will be taken soon before cancer takes it sad toll.
brought The Netherlands and Lanka closer
from the Ambassador, The Netherlands,
Susan Th. Blankhart
After the tsunami struck the island,
The Netherlands government responded with new pledges for
post-tsunami reconstruction. We aim for this assistance to be
delivered in the most transparent and accountable way. We support
the efforts of the government to liaise with all stakeholders in the
north and east as well as in other parts of the country,
particularly through a mutually acceptable system for reconstruction
in the affected areas
April 30 is the National Day of the
Kingdom of The Netherlands. It is the day on which 16 million people
in the Netherlands and 500,000 Dutch nationals living abroad,
celebrate the official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix. The
year 2005 is a very special year as it is the Queen's silver
The Netherlands covers an area 60% of
the size that of Sri Lanka. It is flanked to the north and the west
by the North Sea, to the east by Germany and to the south by
Belgium. Being a very flat country, a recurring theme in Dutch
history has been the struggle against the sea. Nearly a quarter of
The Netherlands surface is below sea level.
Large areas of land have been reclaimed
from the sea through the years. In 1953 The Netherlands experienced
an enormous disaster when the dikes in the Southwest broke through,
and large parts of the country were flooded and thousands of people
As developments in The Netherlands are
very much influenced by the constant struggle with the sea, Dutch
people in particular felt shaken when the devastating tsunami of
December 26, 2004 struck Sri Lanka and brought enormous
suffering and unprecedented destruction.
When it became clear that so many
communities had been affected and countless people lost family
members, homes and livelihoods Dutch people came forward to help in
a big way. Apart from the government contribution, the Dutch people
in a nation wide fund-raising event contributed nearly 200 million
Euro for people in tsunami affected countries.
On top of these contributions, numerous
smaller and larger initiatives were set up to directly assist people
especially in Sri Lanka. Dutch people have a special affection for
this country based on our common history.
Many Dutch tourists more recently
became fond of this island. Therefore all over the island we now
find renewed Dutch-Sri Lankan partnership initiatives assisting Sri
Lankan people to try to regain their lives after the tsunami.
The process of re-construction is
critical and needs to proceed as swiftly as possible. Consulting
local stakeholders is essential, along with empowering communities
to fully participate in planning and decision making. In my view,
the process of re-construction provides a unique opportunity to
focus on the long-term interests of the people of Sri Lanka.
The process should be sensitive to the
impact on unaffected, neighbouring communities. It is recognised
that it is important for all members of society to adopt an
inclusive, participative approach, putting partisan interests aside
and focusing on the important challenges confronting the country.
Since the mid-1970's Sri Lanka and The
Netherlands maintain a programme for development cooperation, which
aims at the reduction of poverty in the country. Development
cooperation forms an integral part of Dutch foreign policy. Pro-poor
social and economic policies, the presence of a conducive system of
governance and attention to human rights are in general the most
important issues in our development cooperation programmes.
Our primary goal for the Sri Lanka
programme is to cooperate towards equitable, sustainable, pro-poor
growth and poverty reduction, for the benefit of the people of Sri
Lanka; based on objective needs and without discrimination on the
basis of political, religious, ethnic or gender considerations.
In the short term therefore the
Netherlands development cooperation will concentrate on support for
peace enhancing activities. The
violent conflict which affected Sri Lanka brought about
poverty and the poor and most vulnerable groups in society are the
most heavily affected by the conflict.
After the tsunami struck the island,
The Netherlands government responded with new pledges for
post-tsunami reconstruction. We aim for this assistance to be
delivered in the most transparent and accountable way. We support
the efforts of the government to liaise with all stakeholders in the
north and east as well as in other parts of the country,
particularly through a mutually acceptable system for reconstruction
in the affected areas.
The Netherlands and Sri Lanka maintain
a strong relationship, ranging from a development partnership, a
mutual cultural heritage cooperation and to ever-increasing
commercial ties. I hope that the cordial partnership that has
developed in past centuries will be further strengthened in the
future, so as to work together towards a new era of economic
development, and cultural, cooperation between Sri Lanka and the
May the coming year again witness a
further strengthening of the relations between The Netherlands and
Sri Lanka, based on mutual respect and friendship.
relations between Sri Lankan and The Netherlands
The Netherlands and Sri Lanka have long
standing trading relations.
Total Dutch exports to Sri Lanka in 2004 valued _ 25 million,
in agricultural and industrial products.
For agriculture an increase in export
value of live animals, food products, beverages and tobacco to Sri
Lanka occurred, with a slight decrease in export value of vegetables
and fruits, compared to 2003.
In the industrial sector the value of
machinery and manufactured goods dropped as compared to 2003.
Total Dutch imports from Sri Lanka in
2004 valued _ 54 million, mainly consisting of industrial products,
garments and clothing and showing an increase in manufactured goods.
Agricultural imports from Sri Lanka slightly declined, mainly caused
by a decrease in live animals and food items.
Over the past five years, Netherlands
has been averaging 3 % of the total market share as far as imports
into Sri Lanka are concerned. Among the countries of the European
Union, the Netherlands still constitutes the fourth largest trading
partner of Sri Lanka, in terms of both imports and exports. As far
as investment is concerned, Netherlands ranked fourth amongst EU
investing countries in Sri Lanka, in the year 2002.
In the year 2003 The Netherlands has
come within the top 15 countries ranked by total (Cumulative)
Investment in Sri Lanka (based on Projects in commercial operation
Under Sec.17 of the BOI Law).
During the year 2004 and up to March
31, 2005 the BOI has approved three projects for investment from the
Netherlands with local collaborations.
The value of the investments
from the Netherlands totals up to Rs. 687.88 mn.
These projects have generated employment opportunities to
nearly 910 personnel.
One project categorised under services and the other two
under wearing apparels.
Source: Royal Netherlands Embassy,
based on trade figures of Central Bureau for Statistics in the
Netherlands and BOI
development cooperation in Sri Lanka
Structural, bilateral development
cooperation between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands started in the
mid-'70s with financial aid and technical assistance. Since the '90s
the programme concentrated on rural development, environment and
rehabilitation. For the coming period the budget available for the
structural bilateral programme amounts to approximately LKR 1
billion and 200 million (EUR 10 million) per year. This budget will
be invested in peace building, environment, private sector
development and some ongoing commitments in other sectors.
Apart from the development cooperation
with the Government of Sri Lanka, there are many non-governmental
development cooperation ties. Dutch NGOs finance their Sri Lankan
partner-organisations for approximately 2 million Euro per year. Via
private sector mixed credits and special programs as ORET, PSOM,
NMCP approximately 4 million Euro grant money annually are invested
in Sri Lanka. The fellowship programme selects on average 40 Sri
Lankan short- and long-term scholars to study in the Netherlands.
On top of these structural development
cooperation ties The Netherlands provides tsunami aid via the Ports
Authorities and the Sri Lanka Railway. Donations of Dutch private
citizens for the tsunami victims amount to well over EUR 200 million
(Rupees 2.4 billion) for the tsunami affected region. A fair share
of this aid will be allocated to Sri Lanka.
The Asian Development Bank's North East
Community Restoration and Development (NECORD) program is co-funded
among others, by The Netherlands. The Dutch contribution is
earmarked for Unified Assistance Scheme payments, equipment for
Agricultural Service Centres and technical assistance for fisheries
credit schemes. Title of the program: Support to Internally
Displaced Persons, duration November 2003 till December 2004, total
amount LKR three hundred and twenty eight million (EUR 3 million.).
The Consortium of Humanitarian
Agencies' (CHA) National Programme on Peace and Development is
funded from November 2003 till October 2005 for a total amount of
LKR forty nine million (EUR 450.000). This program provides small
scale funding to NGOs and CBOs for local initiatives.
ZOA Refugee Care is funded for
community rehabilitation activities in the northeast to the tune of
LKR eighty two million (EUR 750.000) for the period September 2002 -
May 2005. The Netherlands will consider contributing to the
North-East Rehabilitation Fund (NERF) once it becomes operational.
In the environment sector we closely
cooperate with the Asian Development Bank in co-funding government
programs. The coastal resources management program is co-funded for
a total amount of LKR one billion three hundred and eighty eight
million (EUR 12.7 million) and runs from July 2000 till December
The Protected area management program
is co-funded to the tune of LKR four hundred and thirty seven
million (EUR 4 million), it started in august 2001 and is scheduled
to be finalised by July 2007. The ADB credits are used for
investments in infrastructure, the Dutch grant money is used for
institutional capacity building. As a sequel to this programs the
Ministry of Environment and the Central Environmental Authority
receive support for institutional capacity development in the
environment sector with an emphasis on capacity building at district
and community levels.
This LKR three hundred and twenty eight
million (EUR 3 million) program has been signed off in October 2003
and will be finalised in December 2006. Capacity building and
Advocacy Programme of IUCN-SL has been provided with LKR twenty
eight million (US$ 282,000) for a period of three years starting
from March 1, 2002 to December 31, 2005. A research programme on
Bio-diversity in Uda Walawe area, which is being implemented by IWMI
with the assistance of IUCN-SL and Mahaweli Authority, is provided
with LKR sixty nine million (US$ 700,000) for a period of three
years starting from November 15, 2002.
Sri Lanka and The Netherlands cooperate
actively in such diverse areas as private sector development, the
preservation of our mutual cultural heritage and public finance
management. The longstanding and fruitful cooperation with the
Plantation Housing and Development Trust and with the Institute for
Policy Studies will come to a close by 2005.
General information on Dutch
development cooperation can be found on the web-site of the
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.minbuza.nl.
on-going Dutch funded projects
The shared cultural heritage of Sri
Lanka and the Netherlands is an integral part of the prevailing
bi-lateral relations between the two countries. Notably, the past
four centuries of the Dutch-Sri Lankan alliance has had a profound
effect on the social, cultural, religious, economic and political
spheres of Sri Lanka, resulting in distinctive influences on both
the tangible and intangible heritage of the country.
Although alliances in the imperialism
age were detrimental to the conquered nation in some respects,
recent relations have been mutually beneficial. As a matter of fact,
the two countries have developed, and still maintain, a long-lasting
and strong relationship.
What remains today of the Dutch Period
in Sri Lanka is a mutual heritage that evolved from the interaction
and exchange of elements between the Sri Lankan and Dutch cultures.
The Central Cultural Fund in Sri Lanka approached Dutch cultural
institutions with the proposal to establish a cultural relationship
programme, aiming to preserve built heritage from the Dutch Period.
With the close involvement of the Royal
Netherlands Embassy, this programme came into practice by the
establishment of the Mutual Heritage Centre in 1999. The Centre has
implemented several meaningful heritage preservation projects, with
the assistance of the Dutch Cultural Fund.
Precisely two years ago, on 30 April
2003, the governments of Sri Lanka and The Netherlands signed a
joint policy framework on the preservation of their common cultural
heritage. The joint statement is meant to be a dynamic framework for
the valuable co-operation in the area of the common cultural
heritage, shared by the two countries.
The primary objective of the policy
framework is to promote co-operation on the sustainable maintenance
and management of mutual cultural heritage in Sri Lanka and The
Netherlands, and to identify the priorities for co-operation in the
future. It serves also as a benchmark for new project proposals
aimed at preserving common cultural heritage.
An example of the valuable co-operation
in the field of mutual cultural heritage is the archive programme,
implemented by the National Archive in The Netherlands and the
Department of National Archives in Sri Lanka, with a facilitating
role for the Central Cultural Fund and the Royal Netherlands
Embassy. The programme, called Towards A New Age of Partnership (TANAP),
encompasses activities such as the development of digital finding
aids, courses in old-Dutch handwriting, microfilming the VOC
records, a boxing project and the restoration of ancient documents.
The documents, written in many
languages, contain information about a variety of subjects, for
instance, intrigues at the court in Kandy, populations that have
disappeared over the years, local prices of products, weather
reports, regional customs, clothing, religion and ancient
traditions. Even the oldest handwriting in Tamil is to be found in
the VOC archives. The remains are often in a very poor condition,
which motivated the initiators of the TANAP programme to undertake
immediate action to save an important part of mutual history.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka and The
Netherlands undertook a joint effort to renovate the Dutch Reformed
Church in Galle. The main purpose of this mission, financed by the
Dutch Cultural Fund (14.7 million Rupees), was to share knowledge,
experience and information with the Central Cultural Fund.
The church was established in Ceylon in
1642, and is the oldest Protestant Church in Sri Lanka. The church
was built and completed in August 1755 and it has since withstood
the test of time. The renovation of the church was completed in
October 2004. On the 31st of October, at a colourful ceremony,
President Chandrika Kumaratunga, ceremonially handed over the church
to the President of the Dutch Reform Church.
The most actual and well-known project
is the "Avondster Project". The Avondster, a VOC ship from
the 17th century, which was wrecked on 23 June 1659 in the harbour
of Galle. The project is funded by the Dutch government (66 million
many times can a ship be wrecked?
effect of the tsunami on maritime heritage in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is strategically located
between Arabia and East Asia, at a natural crossroads of
navigational routes, and has been a centre of trade and cultural
exchange since ancient times. Sri Lanka's seafaring history, and the
archaeological riches of her land sites, suggests that her
underwater sites should prove comparably fascinating.
Since the early 1990's a Sri
Lanka-international team of maritime archaeologists, historians and
museum curators have been doing research in the Bay of Galle and in
the extensive archives in Sri Lanka and The Netherlands. Underwater
surveys have revealed an impressive number of heritage sites, dated
from the 13th century up to modern times. Gradually a collection was
growing, representing a cross-section of Sri Lanka's rich maritime
From 2000 these activities became more
institutionalised with the forming of a Maritime Archaeological Unit
(MAU) and conservation laboratory under the Mutual Heritage Centre
Sri Lanka. This centre is managed by the Central Cultural Fund in
cooperation with the Amsterdam Historical Museum, the University of
Amsterdam, the Western Australian Museum, and financed by the Dutch
Government (66 million Rupees).
The main objective was to extend
capacity in Sri Lanka for maritime heritage management and to build
a collection for a new national maritime museum.
These goals were met by an excavation
project of the European East-Indiaman Avondster in the Bay of Galle.
The Avondster was originally an English ship, captured and modified
by the Dutch, relegated after a long career to short haul coastal
voyages, and wrecked in 1659 while at anchor in Galle Harbour.
The choice of the Avondster for
excavation was however based mainly on the physical condition of the
site rather than the identity of the ship. After the ship was
discovered in 1993 the site was monitored; it became clear that the
wreck was increasingly exposed through changes in the dynamics of
the seabed, and it was considered important to implement a rescue
archaeology project on the site to safeguard this important
From 2001 till the end of 2004
important sections of the ship have been excavated, collections
conserved and preparations made to open a first gallery in the
National Maritime Museum in Galle at the end of 2005. The programme
was so successful that at the conference on the 2001 UNESCO
Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage held in
Hong Kong 18-20 November 2003, it was decided that the MAU based at
Galle would form the basis of the establishment of an UNESCO
regional (Asia/Pacific) training centre in underwater archaeological
site conservation and management.
On 26 December 2004, only days after
the excavation of the Avondster was finalised, the MAU premises and
the National Maritime Museum in Galle were destroyed in the tsunami.
Luckily all members of the team survived the killer-wave, but a
substantial part of the historical collection and equipment were
lost. It is unsettling to realise that all the efforts to safeguard
an important historical collection have eventually contributed to
the opposite; the loss of a substantial part of the excavated
collection while the remaining artifacts on the wreck are possibly
now better conserved due to a thick layer of tsunami sediment.
After intensive training since 1998 in
maritime archaeological techniques and conservation, the staff of
the MAU had prepared a programme for the survey, management and
presentation of other maritime heritage in Galle starting January
2005. Despite the unfathomable humanitarian disaster that is taking
place around them and the loss of their facilities, the spirit of
this group of young professionals is unbroken. They are determined
that the future for this new discipline and thus their own future
should not be washed away by the tsunami.
Immediately after the disaster an
international network was activated to bring together the necessary
equipment and funds. Nearly three months after the Tsunami destroyed
the facilities, the team are in a position to resume their
activities. On 24 March the new building for the MAU was officially
With the support of the Cultural
Emergency Response Fund, the Netherlands Cultural Fund and various
international institutions, the basic infrastructure was restored
and the recovered artefacts placed back in conservation in a safe
environment. A team of experts in the field of maritime archaeology,
conservation, museology and monuments assisted the Sri Lankan team
in assessing the damage caused by the tsunami and helped with this
first phase of rehabilitation.
will play an eminent role in the rehabilitation of Galle. Culture
and development are the key words. It is foreseen that as early as
2006, a first maritime heritage display will be opened pending the
restoration of the Dutch warehouse and the establishment of the New
Risk and decay of collections are
inherent in almost any kind of historical-archaeological
investigation and museum display. It is ironical that the sea took a
collection, once formed through a shipwreck, now centuries later for
the second time. We were able to bring the recovered collection to
safer grounds, but how safe will it be for the future? The fact that
the wreck site appears untouched by the Tsunami raises the issue of
where is the safest place for the material. However, at the end of
the day it will be determination of these young professionals that
will safeguard the collection, wherever it is situated, for future
generations. With their enthusiasm to show the rich maritime history
of Sri Lanka to the world, the maritime heritage might be
safeguarded from the biggest threat it faces; the treasure hunters
who are still creating a much bigger risk to heritage in the region
than any natural disaster.
Director Avondster Project,
Amsterdams Historisch Museum,
University of Amsterdam
Group - moving to a new level
The Shermans Group - the outcrop of an
inspiring tale of entrepreneurship that had its beginnings in 1935 -
offers end-to-end solutions in the areas of clearing, transporting
However, the services offered are
moving to a new level where the company also offers freight services
for importers and exporters. This initiative involves two of the
group subsidiaries, Shermans Transport Pvt. Ltd. and Port Cargo
Clearing Pvt. Ltd., which are to be converged into Shermans
"We are trying to attract both
these segments and offer them end-to-end solutions from the point of
freight to the end package. In the case of importers, we are
offering freight, clearing, warehouse solutions on a pay as you use
basis, transportation to the client's location and other
services," said Director / General Manager, Anura Fonseka.
The company has conceived a five-year
plan with a vision of being the number one logistics solution
venture in Sri Lanka.
In a time when the country is going
through a development stage with a lot of projects and a lot of
opportunities for transportation and logistical solutions, the
company has to its advantage the reputed Shermans name and the
experience of its wharf department.
Clients would benefit from using this
solution since it is more economical than utilising the services
The Shermans Group is very conversant
in the trade of exporting and over 90% of its group revenue is from
"This is our expertise. We aim to
tap into this expertise and offer end-to-end solutions,"
With most export companies opting to
outsource now, Fonseka says the days when companies had their own
wharf and clearing departments are gone, and as a result, the
Shermans Group wharf and clearing departments have evolved into a
business unit whereby they offers their services to other companies.
"The rule of thumb in business
today is outsource and what we are doing is making a business out of
our expertise, and thus offering a great opportunity for other
companies to tap into the expertise of a company like Shermans,"
The company also plans to introduce
value-added warehousing, which includes sorting, packaging and bar
For warehousing, the group uses its
large warehouse complex of 100,000 square feet, which is located in
Colombo and in close proximity to the Katunayake airport, renting
out the space at competitive rates.
The Shermans Group of Companies is in
the process of being re-engineered and Shermans Holdings is a result
of the re-engineering and the re-designing of the strategic
architecture of the group, where the plan or strategy is to
consolidate its businesses.
With a host of changes taking place and
a number of exciting plans on the cards, the group added two new
directors to the board of Shermans Holdings early this year,
introduced a new technology to the country in the form of an
alternative building system, entered into a partnership with Premier
Pacific Topaz (Pvt) Limited and also plans to enter the tourism
sector in the future.
At a press briefing held recently, the
company outlined plans to enter into new areas such as housing,
power and energy, etc., under its projects dept., and announced that
business magnate Tilak de Zoysa and CEO, Commercial Leasing Co.
Ltd., Dr. Dilanjan Soysa have joined the board of Shermans Holdings.
The group is confident that with its
present strategic planning, it would be able to share its success
with the public hopefully by next year, by going in for an IPO.
Mobiles make Sri Lankan debut through Abans
Abans Office Automation, which brings
to Sri Lanka the latest versions of the world's best in mobile
phones, has launched a range of high-tech feature studded Panasonic
mobile phones. The company has enhanced its sales operation with the
opening of their new showrooms recently at Ja-Ela, Mt. Lavinia and
at Galle Road, Kollupitiya.
Panasonic, a frontier brand has gone
strides in innovating features with spectacular communication
capability beyond words, via pictures still and moving. The phones
are fabulous to look at and versatile to use where even the tiniest
details are produced with an eye to perfection. Communication has
become more intuitive, more sensuous with these sleek and stylish
Recently, the Yokohoma based Matsushita
Electric Industrial Group, the parent company of Panasonic was
awarded the ISO 14001 Certificate. An ISO authorised organisation,
Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance Ltd. (LRQA) for environmental
compatibility among other issues granted this after a review.
The communiqu‚ said "Another
major strength is our ability to rely on the technological skills
and expertise of the entire Matsushita Group of companies in order
to develop and deliver products and services of unmatched quality
and reliability. By making effective use of such group-wide skills
and expertise, we are able to (i) ensure that R&D advances are
quickly realised in our products, (ii) share intellectual and
physical product design resources, (iii) shorten product lead-time,
and (iv) enhance overall product quality and performance. Our
business domain is diverse, ranging from base station communications
systems and mobile telephone terminals to communication measuring
It is evident that the demand for
cellular phones has grown leaps and bounds, vastly due to the
manifold features being added to each ensuing model. Downloadable
Polyphonic ringtones, camera embedded utilities, 3G, GPRS, SMS and
MMS are a few of the interactive add-on features which have taken
this generation by storm.
The capability and capacity for audio/ video content has been
cited as the main attraction for the consumers. Passion for style
and design is preferred over utility functions. As the experts say,
the mobile phone is now termed a 'commodity' rather than an
appliance as it was years back, since it is found in almost every
other's possession, mainly in the urban and suburban populace.
Abans Office Automation has chosen the
month of May to provide a great opportunity for every customer who
buys a cellular phone from them. This is expected to arouse much
excitement as the purchasers will have the opportunity of winning
valued electronic appliances, each day, week and at the end of the
month. Throughout the month, a daily draw will be held and the
winners will qualify for a weekly draw. Subsequently these winners
will qualify for the end-of-the-month Grand Draw.
A gift voucher worth Rs.3, 000 is for
the daily prize, and the weakly draw offers a choice between a
21" Flatron Colour TV and a 5.1 Channel Home Theatre System.
The Grand Draw prize will be also a choice between an LG
Side-by-Side Refrigerator, an LG Wireless Home Theatre System and a
JVC Camcorder. Those unlucky in the daily and weekly lot, still
stand the chance of winning the Grand.
Abans, known for marketing all the
leading names in the mobile phone industry, is reckoned also for the
genuineness in quality and make, since the sets are procured from
the principals and franchise companies directly. A wide range and
the latest versions of global brands such as Motorola, Sony
Ericsson, Nokia, Panasonic and LG can be found under one roof at
Abans Office Automation.
Review - By Dr. Uditha Liyanage
Garment Industry In Sri Lanka:
The Global Challenge
Edited by Dr. Saman Kelegama
The Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry
in Sri Lanka accounts for over half of our export earnings and of a
third of the country's employment in the manufacturing sector.
Hence, its central importance to the country as a whole need not be
over emphasised. Importantly, this vital industry is currently
facing many challenges. It is in a state of flux in the face of new
competition on the one hand, and the emerging external trading
environment, on the other. Regional and bilateral trading
arrangements and the emergence of China and WTO agreements on
textiles and clothing are key facets of the external trading
It is for the above reasons that
Ready-Made Garment Industry In Sri Lanka: Facing The Global
Challenge edited by Saman Kelegama is not only topical but also
seminal in its contribution to the rather limited stock of organised
knowledge on the subject. Clearly, in a country which lets
management by opinion (MBO) overshadow management by evidence (MBE)
in the realms of politics, and governance at all level, a book
replete with data, information and insights on Sri Lanka's RMG
industry fills a lacuna. It will help policy makers and industry
captains alike to recognise more pointedly, the challenges the
industry encounters at present, and forge a way forward for the
benefit of the country, at large.
Although the book's chapters are not
arrayed in a way that takes the reader from the industry's
challenging context (environment/competition), to its current
content (composition/structure) and then to its craft
(strategy/skill), it is not difficult to discern the presence of the
three components, variously featured in the book and their ever
present inter- play.
Parts IV and V of the book deal with
the environments or context in which the industry is located. Parts
I,. II and III address issues of content (structure and process),
and strategy- development. At the outset, Kelegama presents two
disparate viewpoints that are entertained in regard to the post-2005
period. One school of thought presents a positive scenario. Here, it
is argued that world trade in ready-made garments has witnessed
rapid expansion over the years.
Infact, chapter IV features the
prospect of 40 percent of the firms going out of production in the
heat of the open, quota-free market. The book in essence sheds light
on this debate. It examines the competition of the RMG sector, its
backward and forward linkages, and how it is geared to face this
turbulence in the external trading environment. Although, the
authors do not posit a bleak future for the industry, their
expectations are characterized by an " if-then" stance,
which calls for the adoption of specific measures and approaches for
the industry's survival and growth.
Part II of the book addresses issues of
competitiveness. Tilak and Dilini Fonseka discuss the competitive
strength of the garment industry and planning processes at the firm
level. Michel Porter told us, way back in 1980 that a firm or an
industry must either pursue a cost-leadership strategy or a strategy
of differentiation, and that attempting to do a bit of both will put
the firm or industry in jeopardy, finding itself "stuck in the
middle". In simple terms, you've got to be either cheaper than
or be different to your competitor. If your intent is to be cheaper
, then your cost structures should enable you to be so. Sri Lanka' s
garment industry lead-times, comparative clothing productivity rates
and raw material costs result in low profit margins enjoyed by the
industry - less than 10 percent after the allocation of overheads.
Importantly, other than a few, the
majority of the firms appear to be "stuck in the middle".
They do not have the cost - advantage over, say, China, or for that
matter, Bangladesh, nor are they able to differentiate their
products through quality output and design development. This is
borne out by the export market segments which the bulk of the
The book, taken as a whole points to
the need to improve operational efficiencies in order to minimise
the twin factors of time and cost, while moving away from a
commonplace "export push" strategy to a more advanced
"production capacity marketing", where the local company
has production expertise or design capability, and is able to forge
direct linkages with key buyers, and in some instances, establish
overseas offices as well.
Ready Made Garment Industry in Sri
Lanka : Facing the Global Challenge moves from issues of
competitiveness to backward and forward Integration, and thereafter
to the external trading environment and the emergence of China and
WTO agreements. The book comprises 11 stand - alone essays, with the
inevitable fallout of a number of overlapping areas and issues
featured across the chapters.
The book, though published in June 2004
carries some articles written a year or two earlier. However, their
substance and critical arguments remain valid and provide useful
insights into the nature, structure, processes and challenges of the
Dr Uditha Liyanage is Senior Faculty
Member of the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM)